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Humboldt tragedy and beyond: Every Life Matters.

As one honours every victim of the Humboldt tragedy it is important to remember that every life matters. The Humboldt Broncos tragedy demonstrates that Canadians expression of care, love and share can be limitless. It is critical to apply the same ideas of expressing care, love and share to every tragedy when the life of human beings abruptly ends. Here is the list of some of the recently media identified human tragedies in Canada and beyond that involve children death:

  • At the same time as Humboldt tragedy three separate crashes involving school buses in the last two days, including one that left a motorist dead, have Ontario provincial police pleading for drivers to pay more attention.
  • On April 9 Indian school bus plunges into gorge, ‘killing 27 children’ Most of the passengers were below the age of 10, police said. The bus driver and two teachers were also killed in the accident on Monday evening.
  • An Ottawa-area teen with a rare and painful skin condition was remembered Friday as a strong, determined advocate who worked to raise awareness about the disease while displaying a remarkable enthusiasm for life. Jonathan Pitre, who died this week, pushed for a better understanding of epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, his mother said, calling her 17-year-old a “fearless warrior.”
  • Earlier in March Krassimira Pejcinovski, 39, and her son Roy Pejcinovski, 15, were found dead inside their home in Ajax on March 15. Her daughter Venallia, 13, was taken to a trauma centre but died of injuries later that evening.
  • Two children died from flu-related illnesses on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 in Guelph.
  • 4 children dead in Nova Scotia house fire in January 2018.
  • Between 2003 and 2012, over 5,500 Canadians shot and killed themselves.
  • Teen killed herself at a foster home in Manitoba in January 2018
  • The bodies of Chloe Berry, 6, and her sister Aubrey, 4, were found in an Oak Bay apartment on Christmas Day in British Columbia.
  • Nine more children known to New Brunswick’s child welfare system have died, CBC News has learned. Seven of the deaths happened over the last 12 months, while two more children died in late 2016, according to new figures from the province’s child death review committee.
  • 23 to 25 youth in Canada die from firearms injuries.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 civilians killed in Syria is a child, Lancet study says More than 17,000 children killed by weapons, as air bombs kill 5 times more civilians than combatants
  • Save the Children says 130 children die every day in Yemen.
  • 1 million newborns die the day they are born, UNICEF report says.

The list of human tragedies is much bigger than those identified, many of the losses of human lives are not covered in the media but hopefully, every person who dies is remembered with dignity and their families, friends receive the supports they need. Canadians show how to demonstrate support as a result of the recent Humboldt bus crash (Humboldt Broncos: How Canadians and the world responded to the tragedy). It is critical to respond with the same level of care, share and love to every victim in Canada and around the world.

The biggest takeaway: life is short and can change really fast.  Dr. Alastair McAlpine has a perspective on life many aspire to but it’s one he’s earned doing a heart-wrenching job. McAlpine cares for children in their dying days at Paedspal, a paediatric palliative program in Cape Town, South Africa.  Alastair suggests spending life “doing the things you love with the people you love and tell those people that you love them. And I think if you do all of those things, I think you will look back on your life — whether it’s ending today or ending in many many years time — I think you’ll look back with gratitude and joy”.

Keep living, learning and remembering human tragedies and finding ways to respond to them keeping in mind the dignity and worth of every human being.  Every human life matters!

Contra Spem Spero

Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov

Assistant Professor

Faculty of Education and Social Work

Thompson Rivers University

Humboldt Broncos: How Canadians and the world responded to the tragedy.

Ukraine_HumblodtCanadians from coast to coast to coast are finding ways to respond to the recent tragedy: a bus crash that carried the hockey team from Humboldt Saskatchewan. Here is the list of 20+ ideas on what can be done after the bus trip ends with the tragic death of 15 confirmed young adults.


  • Keep staying hopeful: Out of Humboldt Broncos tragedy will come hope . The first idea comes from the producer.com website and suggests that “very few of us will make it through life without knowing tragedy. We are never prepared for it, and when it comes, it comes with disbelief and unbearable sadness. Our world stops. And so we watched in shock last Friday as the small city of Humboldt, Sask., coped with the death of 15 people and injuries to 14 others after their Jr. A Broncos hockey team bus collided with a semi-trailer north of Tisdale while on the way to a playoff game against the Nipawin Hawks. The depth of the tragedy — the loss of so many young people, their coaches, the team’s statistician, the radio broadcaster, the bus driver — was overwhelming. The Broncos roster has players aged 16 to 21 from all over Western Canada”. Despite the tragic events the author offers hope by stating that “the most tangible evidence of strength came in a single photograph of three Broncos players lying side-by-side in their hospital beds, holding hands”.
  • Organize GoFundMe campaign. Sylvie Kellington, a resident of Humboldt, Saskatchewan who has a son that played for the Broncos Bantam A team just this past season organized a GoFundMe campaign that keeps raising 6.5+Million dollars to support affected families.  ‘Funds for Humboldt Broncos’ topped by only four other campaigns, including Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. Share your support by donating to the campaign.
  • Sign Donor Card: Logan Boulet, a Humboldt Broncos player from Lethbridge who was injured in a deadly bus crash on Friday, has been taken off life support, and the organ donation surgeries have been completed to help six
  • Participate in NHL Moment of Silence: In the NHL league’s final weekend of the regular season, several teams honoured the victims and their families Saturday night. Their tributes ranged from a moment of silence to the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks wearing “Broncos” on the backs of their jerseys.
  • Listen to the stories: CBC’s Susan Ormiston shares stories of survivors and victims of the Humboldt Broncos crash
  • Remember the names of the victims: The list of people who died when a bus carrying a Canadian junior hockey team collided with a tractor-trailer on a highway in Saskatchewan is available online.
  • Avoid misidentification: Saskatchewan Justice Ministry spokesman Drew Wilby said authorities realised the mistake late on Sunday night and both the Tobin and Labelle families have since been informed. “I can’t imagine putting myself in those families’ shoes to first get the notice that their loved ones had been in a collision of this nature and to find out who they had thought was their loved one wasn’t actually their loved one,” he told reporters. Mr Wilby said he was limited by Canadian privacy laws in offering more information that could explain the misidentification.
  • Drive safe and stay safe on the road: Every year, thousands of teenage athletes travel millions of miles by bus in search of their dreams. Anybody who has been on one of these bus trips knows they can be long, tedious trips often on isolated, dark highways. In minor sports, travelling between far-flung outposts by bus is usually where one learns about their teammates and deep bonds are forged. Travel is a fact of life for sports teams, both tiresome and enjoyable, Rosie DiManno writes. After the unthinkable tragedy in Saskatchewan, there is no solace in the randomness of fate.
  • Know the history and plan for the future: Canadian highways have borne witness to several fatal crashes – and for a number of them, the trauma has not faded over the years.
  • Take action in your local community: In Manitoba at Acadia Junior High, the school made it a mission to recognize the tragedy, making ribbons, a multi-media presentation with information about the events, and holding a moment of silence. The Saint John Sea Dogs hockey team in Maritimes is inviting people to sign a book of condolences at Harbour Station starting on Tuesday at noon until 5 p.m. on Friday. Halifax City Hall will be lit up in the Humboldt Broncos‘ team colours on Monday in recognition of the recent deaths of 15 people in Saskatchewan. At the Bean Counter in Williams Lake, all proceeds this week from the sale of a medium drip coffee will be donated to the Broncos. May there be some small comfort for the bereaved in knowing that all of Canada now knows Humboldt as a town of grace and humanity. “All of Canada will remember the Broncos in the flower of their youth and promise”.
  • Leave Hockey Sticks on the doorsteps: Hundreds of photos of hockey sticks – propped beside front doors and on porches – have appeared on social media in response to the hashtag #PutYourStickOut, in honour of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team devastated by Friday’s collision.
  • Wear Green: Students and people across Canada wear green to honour Humboldt victims
  • Donate Blood: On Saturday morning, just hours after the team bus carrying the Broncos crashed into a semi-trailer, dozens of people were lined up outside Saskatoon’s Blood Service Clinic to support victims. Locals reported that the clinic had reached its capacity over the weekend—only accepting walk-ins from rural folks, while city-dwellers were forced to make an appointment.
  • Set up support session for those affected by Humboldt tragedy in your local community agency. The meeting is not intended to provide counselling but will cover the following topics: (1) How incidents like Humboldt can impact people (2) How different people process traumatic experiences (3) How to manage vicarious trauma of exposure to social media (4) How a person can work through these experiences in a healthy way
  • Return to Humboldt as a Former Player to offer support: Once a Humboldt Bronco, always a Humboldt Bronco. Bronco Strong. Those terms took on more meaning than ever as former players spanning from the time the team was established in 1970 to present day gathered. And it was even more meaningful to John Kirzinger and his son Matthew, who both proudly wore No. 20 for the Broncos with 30 years between their tenures.
  • Be professional always: Code Orange: Emergency room in ‘organized chaos’ after Humboldt Broncos bus crash. Hassan Masri was working the night shift at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon when a code for mass casualties was called in response to a bus crash carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team. Saskatchewan Health Authority has also deployed mental health counselling supports to the community of Humboldt as it continues to grieve.
  • Fly people: WestJet family in Saskatchewan and across Canada is in shock after hearing of the tragic accident involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team last night. “In times of tragedies like this, it is our collective duty to step up and help. We are in communication with the Broncos organization and have offered to support them however we can”. Air Canada posted on Facebook: “The terrible tragedy in Humboldt has shocked all of us. Words cannot express the heartbreak the families & friends of these young people are going through. Our thoughts & prayers are with everyone. If you need to fly to SK, pls contact our call centres for further assistance”.
  • Browse photos to remember: Compelling images show the small Saskatchewan city of Humboldt coming to grips with an unimaginable tragedy as an entire nation mourns the deaths of 15 people in Friday’s horrific bus crash
  • Accept global thoughts, prayers and actions: The Ukrainian men’s national ice hockey team placed flowers outside the Canadian embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine in honour of those who lost their lives in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash on Friday. The Queen and Prince Philip have sent their “thoughts and prayers” in the aftermath of a Saskatchewan bus crash that killed 15 people.”Prince Philip and I were saddened to hear word of the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost so much, with their families and with all Canadians who grieve with them at this difficult time,” the Queen wrote in a statement released on Sunday.
  • Use art to express your emotions: On social media, some people are sharing artwork inspired by the junior hockey team to show their support and condolences to those affected. The images, which are being shared using the hashtag #humboldtstrong, capture the pain and heartbreak felt across the country.
  • Attend the vigil: All levels of government were present. ‘We will find strength in each other’: Thousands including PM Justin Trudeau gather at the home of the Humboldt Broncos to honour the 15 victims of the tragic junior hockey team bus crash in Canada


Keep the list going as it applied to every human tragedy! There are many ways how each of us can show love, care and compassion to human tragedy.


Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov, PhD

Assistant Professor

Faculty of Education and Social Work

Thompson Rivers University